These days you’re not a true thespian until you’ve gone AIDS skinny at least once for a role or, failing that, Stay Puft fat. Researching the many time actors have opted to change their bodies for a role, it became clear how many lists like this seem to pop up on the internet. Almost all these lists rate the change by how much was lost or gained.
In an attempt to be different, I’ve decided not to judge this by a number but rather how much apparent pain they went though. It’s more fun that way, and sometimes it involves more than one movie. To give you an example of what I mean, check out the starting point:
10. Christian Bale lost 62lbs for The Machinist, then gained 100 for Batman Begins
It’s still seen as the most anyone has ever lost for a role – but according to Bale, it also wasn’t a big deal at all. Nor was the 100lbs he then had to quickly regain for Batman Begins.
As Bale puts it, he had a “stupid feeling of invincibility” as he went down to 121lbs and then got Batman fit in a span of five months. And thanks to his blind optimism he managed to do it without once dying. Not even close. As he puts it, during his weight loss he felt “serene and calm.” So in the words of anyone who has ever struggled with weight: Christian Bale can go to hell.
9. Michael Fassbender lost 42lbs for Hunger
The nine spot was a toss up between Fassbender and Emile Hirsch for Into The Wild, the tie going to whoever didn’t appear in Speed Racer.
While no Christian Bale in terms of loss, the actor appeared to have a much worse experience with the process while dieting on berries and sardines while living the hard life in Venice Beach. Poor guy. For the four weeks he had to cut his 1,000 calorie a day diet to 600 in order to hit his goal, spending every evening apparently thinking only of sweet nourishment.
8. Vincent D’Onofrio put on 70lbs for Full Metal Jacket
Usually when one is about to undergo basic training they try to slim down, poor D’Onofrio had to fatty up to 280lbs instead. While he physically saw no great damage, the actor apparently got a few emotional scars from it all. As he put it, “It changed my life, women didn’t look at me; most of the time I was looking at their backs as they were running away. People used to say things to me twice, because they thought I was stupid.”
He then added, “Waaaah! I’m in a Stanley Kubrick film!” Seriously dude, having women look at you weird is probably worth one of the most iconic roles in recent movie history.
7. 50 Cent lost 54lbs for All Things Fall Apart
50 Cent was once shot in the jaw and forced to drink only liquids because of the injury. According to the rapper, that wasn’t as bad as preparing for this film. The reason is actually pretty understandable: the discipline sucked. After all, if you have a bullet face and no other choice it’s one thing – but if will power is the only thing keeping you from cake face then every second hurts ten times worse than anything a gun can do. I stand by that; cake is far better than not getting shot.
6. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis broke ribs to dance for Black Swan
It’s possible that, being a rather clumsy man myself, this just seems harder than it is. Then again, I went to a high school with a very large dance community of small, terrifying young ladies – and if there was anything that physical lifestyle seemed to do to them, it was turn them into sinister little bitch fairies who could kill you with their cold stare alone. Of course I was kind of an asshole in high school so it might have been me.
Either way – Portman and Kunis had to take on those same physical demands, attempting to do as many of the dancing scenes on their own as possible. Because of this they suffered numerous injuries along the way such as a torn ligament and injured ribs from all the fancy dancing. They also had to both drop weight for the roles, because apparently Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman are naturally too large to be dancers. Go ahead and wrap your brain around that.